That Crazy Love


“I got me a fearless heart, strong enough to get you through the scary parts. It’s been broken many times before; a fearless heart just comes back for more.”

– Steve Earle

Stiv the cat is helping me write my column this morning. She has seated herself on the keypad. Stiv has a bum eye right now. I don’t know if it was scratched by another cat or if maybe she has something lodged in it, like a fox-tail. If she doesn’t show signs of healing soon, we’ll have to take her in to the vet.

Stiv and I got off to a shaky start when she was a softball-sized ball of fur, claws and teeth. She’d made her way here and was making godawful sounds from the carport, but even though she had to have been near starving, she was too scared to come to Trish or I. As a result I ended up having to corner her and grab her, at which point she sunk her teeth into the webbing between the thumb and forefinger of my right hand; hence her name, Stiv Biter. I still have the scars.

Love-Inspired Lunacy

I had a chance to sit down and talk with a couple of young people in love, and it reminded me of my own whirlwind courtship with Trish. We had to endure a four month long, long distance relationship—she was here in Chico and I was down in Los Angeles—before I moved up here and we were married. You know you’re really in love when you find yourself doing stupid, crazy, out of character things, and being five hundred miles from the one you love only intensifies this temporary insanity. I was in another world during those four months. There was so much intense, stupefying emotion sailing around I simply did not know what to do with myself. I drank and drugged myself, shaved off my eyebrows, and committed crimes petty and egregious. I behaved like a lunatic, which in retrospect, I guess I was. I never realized I could feel or act that way. It was amazing and also sometimes terrifying to be so whacked out and enamored.

As wondrous and unique as that time period was in my life, I’m grateful it was only for four months. Much longer and I likely would have ended up in the pokey; as it was I came closer than I like to admit.

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately—romantic love and also the more general love of the world and the creatures and beings that inhabit it. Love, like hate, indifference, or any other emotion, is an infinitely renewable resource. To create more love all we have to do is love more. Easier said than done, I suppose, and opening yourself up to love also means opening yourself up to heartache and pain. The ones we love the most hurt us when they deny us, reject us, or leave us. But the crazy love is worth it, there’s nothing else like it.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.